Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Have Faith

Graduation is upon us. Those of you in your last year of school are studying for tests, finalizing your books and, thank god, attending your very last classes.

It's been so long since I've graduated college that I forget what it felt like in those last few days. I can't remember if I was nervous though I'm certain I was relieved. I was so far from having a clue about what I wanted to do that the idea of being fearful didn't enter my brain. I started that summer like any other summer, set on doing a lot of nothing and getting very tan while doing it.

Yesterday I spoke with a young woman from Savannah College of Art & Design. She is nearing graduation and she's a bit scared of what comes next. Her name is Amy Troche-Walsh and I'm sure she is feeling a lot like a whole bunch of you who are closing in on your graduation date.

Amy has nothing to be worried about. She has a very strong book (she's an art director doubling as a competent copywriter). But, I imagine whether you feel you are good gets overridden by whether you feel you are good enough.

The nervousness of going out into the great beyond is natural. Will agencies like your book? Will you get interviews? Will you get a job? Will you get a decent salary? All those questions are natural. Just have faith. Have faith that your book is solid (that's what all those years of school got you). Have faith people will like your work (see my recent post about something for everyone). Have faith that a job will come through at a salary you can live with.

You are just beginning. Beginnings are always good and always a bit scary. Good people with good books will always find their way. I have faith in that.

Friday, May 14, 2010

Putting the Art in Art Direction

Last week I attend a senior portfolio show at Minneapolis College of Art & Design. I love this school for many reasons: it's located in a wonderful cultural city that fosters the arts in so many ways; it's the perfect size for a college campus, not too big, not too small; and its advertising program prioritizes artistic fundamentals.

These are the exact artistic fundamentals that I loved in Megan Baxter's portfolio. She was the first graduate I met and I ended up chatting with her so long that I didn't have enough time to see all the students (bummer). She did a series of posters that are a true example of putting the art in art direction.

She described how she created them and I was in awe. Mostly because I wondered if any of my senior art directors (mine or anyone else's for that matter) were tearing up pieces of paper or cutting out letter shapes with an exacto all in the name of a good layout. Kinda doubt it.

Portfolios from schools like MCAD or SCAD or SVA have a different feel than others. I truly believe it's because they stress the arts first and "advertising" second. Students spend a full year in their fundamentals classes learning letterpress, silk screening, book binding, drawing, painting and so on.

These are the skills that come through in their advertising work. Like Megan's posters. She could have done these on the computer. She could have done the backgrounds in photoshop and the type in illustrator. Most people do. But she used her hands and tools other than a computer. The result: purely artistic.